One revealing snapshot of how seriously a nation takes its cycling often comes by having a look at the facilities at a major public event. In countries like Denmark or Holland, for example, arriving somewhere on a bike is completely normal, and parking and security reflect this.
It was thus a little surprise to turn up on my bike at Wimbledon, where I'm working this week, to find bike parking that looked like a distinct afterthought. During the championships great swaths of the park and golf course across the road from the All England Club are given over to cars. The event website promises bike parking in car park 6, and after a couple of puzzled looks from security men, one was eventually able to direct me.
There were a few immediate problems. Firstly, as the picture I took shows, the racks were of the type designed to hold your bike by the front wheel, making it a real struggle to secure the frame to anything. They were also free-standing and relatively light, though in fairness it would be a bit tricky to drag a rack and attached bike very far without attracting attention.
More worrying was that while security staff were posted around the car park, the bike section was left completely unguarded, shielded by trees a few hundred metres away from anyone, and right next to a path leading to the main road.
The man in charge of the car park assured me they'd never had a bike pinched in the six years he'd been there, but the whole set-up looked like it was put together by someone who never cycles.
To be fair to Wimbledon, I subsequently found a bigger, and less isolated, bike park in another car park, though still using the same stands.
What are your experiences of bike parking at big events, whether in Britain or abroad?